The NHS will for the first time pilot at scale the very low calorie diets that have been shown to put type 2 diabetes in remission in people recently diagnosed with the condition.

As part of an upgrade to the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NHS DPP) next year, patients will be prescribed a liquid diet of just over 800 calories a day for three months and then a period of follow-up support in primary care to help achieve remission of their type 2 diabetes.

This approach will initially be piloted in up to 5,000 people following the Diabetes UK funded DiRECT trial, where almost half of those who went on a very low calorie diet achieved remission of their type 2 diabetes after one year. A quarter of participants achieved 15kg or more weight loss, and of these, 86 per cent put their type 2 diabetes into remission. 

Online versions of the NHS DPP, which involve wearable technologies and apps, will also be provided for patients who can’t attend sessions because of other commitments.

Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “While this ground-breaking study continues to explore how long-lasting these benefits are, we are delighted that NHS England has been inspired by this work to pilot a type 2 remission programme through the NHS.”

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